March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

Palm Springs – A Natural Attraction

Posted: Monday, June 3rd, 2013

by Tracy Albrecht

Attendees at the 2013 California Science Education Conference will find themselves in the heart of living laboratory. This region of California holds remarkable natural diversity that stimulates exciting connections and science discovery for students. Within only a few miles of the conference headquarters you’ll find a shifting terrain that varies from steep granite mountains to sand dunes, to a huge inland sea. These environments hold a fascinating array of stunning geology and strange plants and animals that showcase examples of adaptation to the Colorado Desert.

Cradling the desert floor known as the Coachella Valley, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument forms a striking backdrop to the south that transforms in color and texture from hour to hour. This mountain zone provides trails where hikers can find solitude and quietness, not to mention scenic vistas and lush natural palm oases. The central canyon here is called Palm Canyon and it houses a year-round stream flow that supports the largest desert fan palm oasis in North America. Rising 8500 feet above the desert floor, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway offers access to hiking and photography trips in this famous San Jacinto State Park wilderness.  A towering peak of 10,834 feet provides an accessible beacon for visitors who take the opportunity to explore this area.Indian Canyons

To the north are more subdued but active mountains that directly result in San Andreas Fault activity. The San Andreas Fault System, and the crustal stresses it represents, is responsible for most of the valley’s dramatic relief. In the Little San Bernardino Mountains one can see the fault in action from fault gauge to canyon displacement to surface water supporting a natural palm oasis. Just north of the Little San Bernardino Mountains is Joshua Tree National Park, an icon for Mojave Desert landscape.

Finally, to the south is California’s largest inland body of water, the Salton Sea. It was created in 1905 when floodwaters from the Colorado River overran a poorly conceived irrigation development. Today is attracts thousands of migratory waterfowl each fall.

This conference will provide endless opportunities for attendees to grow and learn by experiencing the unequaled sense of place that Palm Springs offers. Whether you walk in downtown Palm Springs under the bright stars or see expressions of the San Andreas Fault in the landscape, science themes abound to the observant person. As habitat for animals such as the bighorn sheep, chuckwalla lizard and roadrunner, watchable wildlife sites are just a morning’s walk away from the conference site and further developed with a host of field study opportunities. We hope your conference experience is inspired even more by a connection to the natural world of Palm Springs.chuckwallaLR

Tracy Albrecht is an Interpretive Specialist at the Bureau of Land Management and a member of the CSTA Conference Planning Committee.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

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For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Marian Murphy-Shaw

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From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.